Despite being a city that is fairly large in size, Madrid has a distinct advantage wherein all of its various points of interest, museums and monuments are concentrated within an area that is relatively small. This gives you the opportunity to explore all of the tourist attractions primarily on foot. If you take a walk at a considerable pace from one end of the tourist district to another and do not take any stops in between you can complete the entire journey in around a couple of hours. However, the extensive network of public transportation in Madrid ensures that if you have to travel from one point in the city to another you can do so quickly and with ease.
The city of Madrid is proud to showcase a public transport network that ranks among the best in the world. It also boasts a metro network that is second in size only to that of London. The subway systems and bus service forms an integrated transport network that can be accessed by means of the same travel ticket. These tickets can be purchased from either nes-stands, metro stations or even from local tobacconists.
Here we take a look at the various means of public transportation in Madrid that you can use for getting around the city and travelling from one point to another.
Madrid Metro Network
With over two hundred stations to its name and new ones opening up everyday, it is very easy to travel by the Metro network. There is a number and color for each of the different metro lines and it doesn’t take much time to commute on this network. The metro service remains in operation for the better part of the day and runs late into the night. While frequencies can vary a great deal on the different lines, it normally ranges from a couple of minutes during rush hours to around five minutes during less peak times. As tourists, you are advised to avoid travelling during rush hours as the trains tend to stay very congested during this period.
It is normally very safe to travel by the metro service, whether you do so at night or during the morning hours. However, as is the case with most other cities, you run the risk of falling prey to pickpockets at some of the touristic stations such as Sol. With numerous security cameras and guards both inside and outside the trains, the safety of travellers is guaranteed. The oldest trains in operation are only a decade old and feature such amenities as air-conditioning and also flat-screen displays. There are television sets at the metro stations where you can catch up on the daily news or get updated on the weather forecast as you wait for your train to arrive.
Madrid bus service
The neighborhoods of Madrid are well connected to the downtown districts by means of the EMT bus service in the city. The buses are normally blue in color while the ones that are powered by diesel fuel being red in color. The new buses that have been introduced on the streets are powered by hydrogen fuel. During the summer months, each of these buses feature air-conditioning. The service is as frequent as the metro service while provisions are made for a child-seat along with suitable seat belts on the new blue buses.
Since Madrid is largely a nocturnal city, night buses known as “buhos” are in operation after midnight till the early hours of morning and operate on every route at a frequency of around fifteen minutes. Cibeles Square, located close to the Banco de Espana metro station is the point of departure for most of these buses. The night buses usually travel along one of the many metro routes in Madrid.
You can also travel on one of the three routes that operate touristic double-decker buses, travelling close to some of the most beautiful monuments in the city and along some historic avenues of Madrid.
Commuter train service in Madrid
The Cercanias Railway or commuter rail service in Madrid is connected to the Madrid subway network at stations such as Mendez Alvaro, Piramides, Delicias, Principe Pio, Nuevos Ministerios, Chamartín and Atocha. These trains are also the easiest means of reaching popular destinations such as Nuevos Ministerios and Paseo de la Castellana. The train service, apart from being extremely efficient and punctual, also runs at high frequencies so that commuters are never inconvenienced.
Taxi facility in Madrid
Although Madrid has a very popular night bus service, most people still prefer taking the city cabs if they are required to travel at night. These cabs are available all through the day and can be distinguished by their white color with red stripe and license number and city crests on the sides. If they have the green light on, you can hail them on the streets. Else, you can look for them at one of the many taxi ranks around Madrid or avail the radio taxi service. Inside the taxi you will have the complete breakdown of the tariff details while the net fare gets displayed on an electronic meter.
There are also special tourist bus services that you can travel in for sightseeing around the various attractions of Madrid. However, if you are planning on taking a cycling tour of the city, it is best that you put the thought behind you. Madrid does not have any well-defined routes along which you can ride your bikes so it is pretty dangerous. Being a city that does not boast of a flat topography, the citizens consider cycling to be an impractical option. However, you can always bike up to El Retiro, the second largest park in the city for some fun and healthy biking experience, though it is not advisable to stay back after dark as the place turns a little too dangerous.
All said and done, it is advisable that as tourists you don’t take any unwarranted risks on your travels and make the most of the vast network of public transportation in Madrid to get over from one point in the city to another. This way, not only will you be able to travel in a safe and comfortable manner but it will also spare you unwanted travel expenses.